Choosing a hosting provider to host your Magento site is one of the most important decisions you will make. This post is part of a multi-part post series that discusses the different approaches to selecting a Magento hosting provider. I am hoping this discussion will help you make the right decision and give you a few tips to look for when making your decision.
To start with let’s get a few things out in the open to help level the playing field between hosting providers. Most site owners start their search by calling up their chosen solution integrator (SI) and asking for recommendations. Quickly you will get back a very short list and advise on what provider to go with. What you might not know is that the SI probably has a horse in the race when it comes to where you take your hosting business.
The majority of hosting providers provide some level of financial kick back to the SI for each client that they bring to their service. If you are working with an SI that is reputable they will have no problem disclosing this relationship and most do so up front.
What are you getting out this relationship by using the provider that your SI recommends? In all honesty, you get a much better level of service and price from the hosting provider. Over the past 6 years, we have referred a large number of clients to various hosting providers. In each of these cases, the clients got much better pricing and contract terms compared to what they would have received by just calling up the general inbound sales line. To understand why this is the case you need to understand a few factors that are going on behind the scene between your SI and the hosting provider.
- Your SI has the motivation to ensure that you use a hosting provider that will work for your site. Imagine if your SI recommends a hosting provider that does not deliver for what your site needs. Not only are you going to be disgruntled at the hosting provider but at your SI as well. Here at Orange Collar, we have been an SI for over 6 years. I can tell you from first-hand experience that if a recommendation we have given to own client starts to go south it does have an impact on our relationship with the client. Trying to avoid disgruntled clients keeps us motivated to suggest hosting providers that will help make for happy clients.
- On the opposite side the hosting provider has motivation for the SI to keep sending them business. In an effort to maintain this sales channel they attempt to make the process as easy as possible for the SI to recommend a service and get the client signed up. Because the SI will be in the middle of this relationship most hosting providers will start off with excellent pricing and contract terms. They know that the SI does not want to become a negotiator and they want to close the deal as quickly as possible.
The greatest benefit that a client is receiving by going with this recommendation is how issues are handled. Hosting issues do happen and when they do normally your first call is to your SI to “fix it”. If you went with your SI’s suggested hosting partner it starts to pay off in this moment. Your SI will have a dedicated contact person for the hosting provider and access to 2nd tier support directly. The developers at your SI will have the ability to quickly get an engineer on the phone avoiding the frustrating tier 1 tech process that you would normally have to go through. This is due to the relationship that the SI has with the hosting provider. There is a level of trust that is built where the 2nd tier support engineers at the hosting providers know the SI engineers and can skip past the elementary troubleshooting steps. Having this existing relationship can at times shave hours off resolving support incidents, that in turn can save you thousands in lost revenue.
Due to these factors, I would recommend that you go along with the hosting provider that your SI suggests.
In my next post, I will discuss how to evaluate different hosting providers on your own.